from the mount-generators-on-a-barge? dept.
Residents near a chemical plant in Crosby, TX — approximately 25 miles (40km) northeast of Houston — have been evacuated due to the possibility of an explosion:
Arkema SA expects chemicals to catch fire or explode at its heavily flooded plant in Crosby, Texas in the coming days because the plant has lost power to its chemical cooling systems, a company official said on Wednesday.
The company evacuated remaining workers on Tuesday, and Harris County ordered the evacuation of residents in a 1.5-mile(2.4-km) radius of the plant that makes organic peroxides used in the production of plastic resins, polystyrene, paints and other products.
Richard Rowe, chief executive officer of Arkema's North America unit, told reporters that chemicals on the site will catch fire and explode if they are not properly cooled.
Arkema expects that to happen within the next six days as temperatures rise. He said the company has no way to prevent that because the plant is swamped by about 6 feet (1.83 m) of water due to flooding from Harvey, which came ashore in Texas last week as a powerful Category 4 hurricane.
"Materials could now explode and cause a subsequent and intense fire. The high water that exists on site, and the lack of power, leave us with no way to prevent it," Rowe said. He said he believes a fire would be "largely sustained on our site but we are trying to be conservative."
From the company's web site:
Our Crosby facility makes organic peroxides, a family of compounds that are used in everything from making pharmaceuticals to construction materials. But organic peroxides may burn if not stored and handled under the right conditions. At Crosby, we prepared for what we recognized could be a worst case scenario. We had redundant contingency plans in place. Right now, we have an unprecedented 6 feet of water at the plant. We have lost primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. As a result, we have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire. The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it. We have evacuated our personnel for their own safety. The federal, state and local authorities were contacted a few days ago, and we are working very closely with them to manage this matter. They have ordered the surrounding community to be evacuated, too.